Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain
You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.
To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
- Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.
Do I Need A Referral From My Medical Doctor
Chiropractic is different than medicine and is natural. We dont prescribe medications and we work with the bodys ability to self-regulate and heal. Only chiropractors are specifically trained to identify and correct vertebral subluxations, we are experts at what we do.
Fortunately we constantly work in our communities alongside with other healthcare practitioners, in fact if we deem it necessary we will make sure we refer you to another specialist. Many healthcare practitioners and doctors see great value in preventative chiropractic care.
When Should I Call My Doctor
- You have severe pain.
- You have new numbness, tingling, or weakness, especially in your lower back, legs, arms, or genital area.
- You lose control of your bladder or bowel movements.
- You have a fever or sudden weight loss.
- You have new or worse pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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Supplements And Herbal Therapies
Looking for a natural way to manage your back pain? You might consider supplements or herbal therapies. Here’s what Grossman advices for her patients:
When considering supplements and herbal therapies, always talk to your doctor first about potential risks and side effects, interactions with other medications, and which therapies may benefit you.
Why Experts Recommend It
Tylenol is a good alternative for those who have any underlying conditions in which a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug would not be appropriate. It is an effective pain reliever with fewer side effects than NSAIDS.
There are also stronger formulations, such as extra-strength Tylenol specifically designed for arthritis relief. The high-dose form has a greater risk of side effects and serious complications.
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Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.
Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency
In our 20s and 30s, normal back pain often can be attributed to factors of daily life, such as sitting too long, picking up children, or overdoing it while exercising.
In our 40s and older, work injuries and the beginnings of arthritis and degenerative conditions are more common.
Back pain is so common, in fact, that many patients shrug off symptoms that might indicate a medical emergency.
Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so its important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.
If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, its usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn’t go away, you might have a more serious condition.
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Your Chronic Pain Treatment Plan
The most important thing to remember when taking medications to treat your chronic pain is that you need to be an active participant in your own treatment plan. Dont be afraid to ask questionsyou have to be your own advocate.
Over time, you may need to increase or decrease your dose of medication or perhaps change medications, so its essential that you carefully follow your doctors directions. Also, be on the lookout for side effects. If you notice any new symptoms, tell your doctor immediately. But dont stop taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
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Other Treatments And Activities That Dont Help
Bed rest is not helpful for back pain, and might even slow recovery. However heavy physical work should also be avoided in the first few days after a back pain episode starts.
Other treatment options including acupuncture, ultrasound, electrical nerve simulation, and corsets or foot orthotics are not recommended, since there is no strong evidence supporting their use.
Even if the cause of back pain is unknown, imaging is unlikely to influence management or provide meaningful information.
Try To Boost Your Mood
No, the lower back pain isnt in your head, but obsessing over it could be making it worse. Fear, anxiety, and catastrophizing can amplify pain, says Dr. Mackey. Because brain circuits that process pain overlap dramatically with circuits involved with emotions, panic can translate into actual pain. Start by accepting that you have pain, Dr. Mackey says. Then say to yourself, it will get better. If you struggle with overall mental wellbeingsay, you have anxiety or depressionin addition to your physical aches, it could be worth seeing a therapist to manage negative thought processes while exploring other lower back pain treatments.
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What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The vast majority of patients experience back pain because of mechanical reasons. They strain a muscle from heavy lifting or twisting, suffer a sudden jolt in a car accident, experience stress on spinal bones and tissues resulting in a , or suffer from osteoarthritis, a potentially painful degeneration of one or more spinal joints. Common causes for low back pain are:
- mechanical or functional injury
- active infection
- referred pain
To choose the safest and most effective therapy, doctors need to consider the full spectrum of possible underlying issues, such as inflammatory conditions, fracture, infection, as well as some serious conditions unrelated to the back that radiate pain to the back.
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Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
Symptoms Of Back Pain
Back pain can be felt in many ways. It can vary from mild to so severe that it affects your ability to move.
Back pain can be felt as muscle aches, stabbing pain, pain that radiates down your leg, and reduced flexibility or range of motion.
You may experience back pain as a tingling or burning sensation, a dull achy feeling, or sharp pain.
Back pain may also be felt as pain or weakness in other parts of the body including your leg, hip or the sole of your foot.
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Arthritis Of The Spine
Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.
Medicines And Pain Relief For Lower Back Pain
Expert reviewer, Justin HaydeWest, Chief Pharmaceutical Officers Clinical Fellow at Bupa UKNext review due December 2023
Your GP may recommend medicines to help ease your back pain. Pain relief can help ease the symptoms but these medicines wont treat the cause. This is why its really important to keep active and mobile too.
The pain relief your doctor may offer will depend on whats causing your pain, how severe it is and whether a medicine is suitable for you. Most people with acute back pain will recover fairly quickly, within a few weeks.
The information below is an overview of the pain relief medicines your doctor may suggest. If your pain is very severe, is getting worse or is seriously affecting your quality of life, your GP may refer you to a specialist pain service or clinic for more specialist help.
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Manage Or Reduce Stress
Stress can trigger muscle tension and painful spasms, including in the back. If long-term stress or a traumatic event seems to have caused back pain, a person can try stress-relief techniques, such as:
- Mindfulness meditation.One study showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved back pain. Mindfulness involves being aware of what the body is doing and using meditation techniques to assist with the pain.
- Deep breathing. Taking deep breaths in and out for several minutes can calm the bodys stress response.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and relaxing muscles in the body, focusing on one muscle group at a time. Lying on their back, a person can start with their feet and gradually move up to the shoulders.
- Guided imagery. This involves focusing on specific mental images to bring about a feeling of relaxation. One study found guided imagery and music helps with work-related chronic stress.
- Yoga. Yoga focuses on particular poses and breathing and can help with relaxation, especially when practiced regularly. One review found yoga to be an effective stress management tool.
Many smartphone apps are available to guide a person through relaxation techniques and meditation.
Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager With Heat
Compact but powerful massage pillow perfect for your lower back
For those searching for an affordable back pain relief product, theres the Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat.
Its compact size means its ideal for travel, plus it can easily be secured to a chair to work on your lower back.
However dont be fooled by the size, this massage cushion is still powerful.
The shiatsu nodes deliver a deep and satisfying massage, changing direction every minute to mimic the hands of a real masseuse.
Some users did in fact find it too powerful and even painful on their spine.
Thankfully it comes with a sleeve that you can slide on to lessen the intensity.
Also tucking neatly into your neck, many consumers raved about how successful it had been in dealing with their neck pain.
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How Is Back Pain Diagnosed
Your health professional will first assess your back pain. They may ask questions including:
- When did your back pain begin?
- What activities were you doing differently to normal before your back pain started?
- How would you describe the pain? Is there tingling or numbness?
- What makes the pain better or worse?
If your pain doesnt settle after a few weeks or starts getting worse, ask your doctor or other health care professional about other management options. You may be referred for tests if there is reason to suspect a more serious cause for your back pain.
In most situations, imaging such as X-ray, CT or MRI scans are not helpful unless there is an obvious injury or strain.
Unnecessary tests can be expensive, and many investigations will show changes in your spine that reflect the normal passage of time, rather than damage to your spine.
Which Painkiller Works Best For You
While the combination of ibuprofen plus paracetamol worked best for the thousands of people assessed, everyone is different and you may respond better to aspirin, or less well to ibuprofen than average.
You may already know which pain killers work best for you as an individual, and intuitively select aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen or codeine based on your past experience of their effectiveness for you.
If you are unhappy with your current non-prescription painkiller, however, and havent already tried a combination of ibuprofen plus paracetamol, this appears to be the most effective non-prescription analgesic for most people.
Below is a full overview that explains how aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen, codeine and dihydrocodeine work, how effective they are, and their possible side effects. I have also provided links to the relevant patient information leaflets in case you need them.
Rather than taking oral pain killers, of course,topical pain relieving creams and gels that sink in to one particular area are a better option.
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Managing Low Back Pain
Manage back pain with regular exercise and professional help as requiredIf you have an attack of lower-back pain that is severe, continuous and not improving, assessment and treatment by a health care professional who focuses on the back or other musculoskeletal problems may help. These practitioners may use both active and passive techniques to help you feel better. Examples of passive techniques that may be used to get you moving include:
- Heat or ice
An active approach, like walking or water aerobics is usually the most effective. Exercise is often the best way to relieve lower-back pain.
Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Work with an expert. It may help to work with a health professional who can explain which activities are right for you.
Choose exercises you enjoy. Many activities can help relieve back pain. Try to include activities that strengthen the muscles around your trunk, your abdominal muscles as well as those in your lower back. Studies show the following activities help relieve back pain:
- Lifting light weights
Medicines For Muscle Spasm
If youre having muscle spasm, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called a benzodiazepine to relax your muscles. Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed as a short course one tablet up to three times a day for up to five days.
Diazepam is prescribed for a short time because there can be problems with withdrawal symptoms and dependency if you take it for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, confusion, loss of appetite, sweating and heart palpitations.
All medicines come with the risk of side-effects. These are the temporary unwanted effects of a medicine. The main side-effects of taking diazepam are feeling drowsy and being less able to concentrate. Its very important to follow your doctors advice about driving especially if the advice is not to drive. Even if you only take diazepam at night, it can affect your ability to drive the following day.
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